Decent folks next door

Does democracy create good neighbors? Or is it the other way around?

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus invites those gathered around him to think about the two greatest commandments: loving God and loving the neighbor. A nearby lawyer desires specification: “And who is my neighbor?”

Recently, a presidential candidate called for monitoring Muslim neighborhoods. The airwaves filled with analytical chatter. “Is this what we’ve come to?” was met with the frank “This is what we’ve come to.” Beneath this rhetoric is the biblical lawyer’s question: Who are our neighbors and how are we to treat them?

Jesus answers the lawyer by telling him a story. As if heeding Jesus’ example, Brian Doyle and Nancy L. Rosenblum use stories to invite readers to reflect on what it means to be a neighbor.